women and men in science etc

dr._margaret_martens at FTDETRCK-CCMAIL.ARMY.MIL dr._margaret_martens at FTDETRCK-CCMAIL.ARMY.MIL
Thu Dec 7 11:22:41 EST 1995


     Robbin,
     
     I think that you are being very mature and thoughtful about what is an 
     extremely important decision.  Not every woman feels the same need to 
     bear children that others do, nor is every woman suited to motherhood. 
     As a woman who has made the same choice, I can say that it is entirely 
     possible to lead a rich, fulfilled and childless life.  Happiness and 
     fulfillment are a conscious decision that comes from within yourself.  
     No one else has the right to judge your life or your values.  Please 
     do not let those that do get you down.  They are usually either simply 
     ignorant or trying to validate their own choices.  You do what is best 
     for you and your family and don't worry about what others think.  No 
     matter what you do in this life, someone is going to think badly of 
     you and probably will not hesitate to tell you so. ;-)
     
     Best wishes,
     Margaret


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: women and men in science etc
Author:  "Robbin L. G. Long" <c638414 at mizzou1.missouri.edu> at Internet-Mail
Date:    12/7/95 09:27


I have been following this discussion for some time now, 
and whereas I am a bit slow to reply, as it takes me a long 
time to consider what exactly my opinions on the subject 
are, I can't help but feel that there is one minority being 
 left out of the discussion here.  What about us women who 
aren't totally committed to having children at all?
     
A little background here.  I am a second year grad student, 
returning to school after a lapse, and am 31 years old and 
married for seven years.  The honest truth is, the older I 
get, the more I entertain the idea of forgoing childbearing 
altogether.
     
I love what I do and consider my life pretty complete, and 
if I hear one more time from my female colleagues 
(referring to mainly post-docs here, as they are more in my 
age group), I believe I will commit homocide!  Before 
anyone jumps to conclusions, I am not a child-hater, I love 
kids and interact just fine with them (I am the oldest of 
six myself, with a pretty big age spread).  But, I also am 
old and experienced enough to know myself and my priorities 
, and I am not sure that I will be able to give a child the 
attention and devotion it deserves without sacrificing what 
I consider a very self-fulfilling life.  Yet, I have been 
called everything from a selfish person to a freak of 
nature (no kidding!)  Sometimes the peer pressure is 
incredible. 
     
My point is, we each leave our own heritage on this earth. 
 Some find it in their children, and that's fine.  But I 
want my heritage to be my work, my attempts to make the 
world better for other people's children.  Somehow, I think 
the human race will get along just fine without my genetic 
contribution.
     
while I agree that women who do choose to balance home and 
science should be treated more sympathetically, I also 
think that we should not treat those who choose not to have 
children as somehow outcasts of the gender.  I am subject 
to all the same biases and assumptions as every other woman 
in my field.  Stop asking us when we are going to have 
kids; stop warning us about our biological clock (I despise 
that phrase!); and stop telling us how much we are missing 
out on!  I love to hear how much you enjoy your children 
and I enjoy sharing vicariously in their accomplishments, 
but please suspend the moralism.
     
And while it's true that I may regret this after menopause, 
I cannot help but think, that for every woman that 
regretted not having kids, there's three like my mother, 
the product of another time, who in her middle age feels 
that she never had the chance to fulfill her potential as a 
woman apart from a mother.
     
Just another viewpoint,
     
Robbin
     
     




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